Love one another, even as I have loved you. [John 13:34]
They will know you are Christians by your love.
Sometimes, the best of life seems to be captured in our memories of the past, the Good Old Days. The best of life a hundred years ago could look a lot like a Norman Rockwell painting. There would be communities where people knew each other, schools that taught addition and multiplication tables, and beautiful handwriting. People would be walking to school and church, eating together at dinner time and Sunday lunches without being interrupted by the phone, texts, or TV. This might be the best of former days.
But there was another side to life a century ago. There was grinding poverty, discrimination against anyone of color, discrimination against women in education, as well as employment. Those are not things I want again. When I think of turning back the clock, I think of regaining the things that I value while keeping air conditioning, cars, the internet, and the hard earned equalities for women and minorities, and air conditioning. I want the best of the past combined with the best of the present to form a better future. It is my hope that we can do this.
Thinking of the Church, then and now, those who were once not a people are now a people, formed by water and word and joined by scripture, common experiences, goals, and values. Within this community, it does not matter where your people came from, whether they or you are documented. It does not matter what kind of food you eat or language you speak in your home. It doesn’t matter if I like vanilla ice cream and you love chocolate. It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to or if you are an independent, or even a citizen. It doesn’t matter if you know and honor the fashion code: “no white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day.”
In God’s house, all are welcome. Around the Lord’s Table, all may eat and drink the mystery of the faith.
As Christians, we have a new identity in Christ. That is our hope. We are no longer slave or free, documented or undocumented, Republican or Democrat, red, yellow, black, brown, or white, straight or gay. We are one in the Spirit, united in Christ. They will know we are Christians by our love.
What if every Christian became so known for loving each other that people all around wanted to come, to sit beside us, to be our friend, and wanted to follow Christ with us? How much more love could we show?
Let’s bring the best of the past and the present into the future in order to love God, love others, and serve the world. That is the hope for the future.
They will know we are Christians by our love.